Mini Book Review: The Stardust Thief (The Sandsea Trilogy #1), by Chelsea Abdullah

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

4.75 Stars!

Synopsis: Loulie, the Midnight Merchant, and her jinn bodyguard sell illegal magic. But when she captures the attention of the Sultan, he sends her on a dangerous journey to retrieve a specific relic.

CW/TW: Violence/Murder/Death.

The Stardust Thief, by Chelsea Abdullah is a beautiful fantasy, inspired by stories from One Thousand and One Nights.

The Stardust Thief is a beautifully written fantasy that sweeps you away. Chelsea Abdullah’s prose is beautiful and compelling. She creates rich and vivid settings, gorgeous imagery and impressive landscapes. Right from the start the prose is immersive and gripping and this continues all the way through. The story is told from using multiple POV’s, mainly of Loulie and Mazen. The multiple pov works very well for this book, especially with the plot that is full of secrets and the tropes of hidden identities. The multiple pov’s are all incredibly interesting and kept the pacing balanced well, giving us insight into each of the characters and their own lives and secrets.

The Stardust Thief follows Loulie, The Midnight Merchant, and her bodyguard, Qadir, who finds and sells illegal magical items. Her reputation gains the attention of the Sultan who sends her to retrieve a magical lamp, alongside his son. But the journey ends up being full of danger. I really loved the journey and plot, I thought it was a lot of fun and had a lot of dangers that kept you gripped! The plot is mainly focused around the jinn and the magical relics. Jinn are hunted because the world sees them as dangerous and their deaths are used to benefit the people. I really enjoyed the jinn in the book, I loved Qadir and all the lore/mythology surrounding the jinn and their stories – the slow reveal of jinn secrets and truths was compelling and interesting. I also loved the different jinn we meet throughout the story and learning more about their magic. I also really loved the magical relics we find and see throughout the story.

Aside from the jinn and magical relics, the plot is very character driven. The character’s secrets, their own plots, and own motives. I really enjoyed figuring out all the character’s motives and unravelling all the secrets and plots. I don’t want to spoil it but the conflict built throughout the book and the tension between the main characters and the villains was very compelling.

The book is full of interesting characters. Loulie is the main character and a great one – she is clever and headstrong but flawed. I loved her relationship with Qadir as well, their bond was really sweet and dynamic. Mazen is a sweet character and passionate but he is also flawed. I enjoyed the dynamic between Mazen and Loulie as well. I liked seeing the characters grow and develop as the story progressed, becoming more open, braver, and determined. I enjoyed the development of the characters different relationships as well and the rest of the cast (though I won’t say anything about them because I don’t want to spoil the fun!).

Overall, The Stardust Thief, by Chelsea Abdullah is a beautiful, compelling and captivating fantasy that is immersive and vivid.

*I received an eARC via #Netgalley from @orbitbooks in exchange for an honest review – thank you!*


  1. Fantastic job reviewing this! I loved the story — Qadir is my favorite character of the bunch. I can’t wait to find out more about his past in the upcoming books!

    Liked by 1 person

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